Sami “Sam” Nassar is having a very bad day. After the ganglord Dominus Smith falsely outed him as the vigilante Beatdown, he’s been questioned by the police and attacked by assassins. Now his ex-wife and daughter are being held hostage by Dominus and the real Beatdown is lurking nearby. Can Sam’s crazy best friend, Mason help him out? Or will he only exacerbate the situation?
Identity Stunt was pitched as a love letter to classic ’80s and ’90s action movies. It definitely delivers on that front. The action is non-stop and over-the-top in a way that was perfected in those two decades. This issue features a high-octane drag race as another masked villain looks to take Sam out thinking he’s Beatdown. Sam doesn’t have time for this as he’s trying to save his daughter.
Artist J. Briscoe Allison somehow contains all of this action within the panels on the page. One of these cars has a gigantic flame coming out the back of it, charging down the road like a demon from Hell itself. It’s like a demonic version of Kitt from Knight Rider.
Fortunately, Sam is a stuntman, so he’s used to being knocked around. It doesn’t make it any easier though. He manages to keep his cool even when his car is flipped upside down. While he has some outbursts, especially when he comes face-to-face with the real Beatdown, he still maintains his composure. It’s not going to help anyone if he flies off the handle. Plus, it could cost his daughter her life.
Allison’s artwork is reminiscent of that of Chris Bachalo and Humberto Ramos, particularly with some of the larger characters. His style fits well with the story with some very expressive faces that bring out the inner feelings of each person. You know right away that Sam has a good heart and Dominus doesn’t have one at all.
Mason is the one aspect of Identity Stunt that falls flat for me. He is like a metric ton of testosterone in human form. It makes you wonder why he’s Sam’s best friend, although they probably connected while serving in the military. Mason reminds me of a more outlandish version of Marvel’s Nuke, which is saying something. His life is a haze of pills, offensive jokes, and sleeveless t-shirts.
Some of the dialogue can be a little cheesy at times, but it works for what writer Joe R. Khachadourian is going for. If you go back and watch some of those classic ’80s movies, there were some groan-worthy sayings in there too. It doesn’t distract from Sam’s mission and his determination.
The opening pages of Identity Stunt #3 are a flashback to Sam’s time in Afghanistan where he’s caught in a strange explosion. Between that and Dominus’ cryptic rants towards the end of the book, I have a guess as to Sam’s connection to Beatdown. It makes me want to go back and re-read the first two issues to see if there were any other hints.
Identity Stunt is an action-packed action-adventure comic. If super hero movies were in vogue in the ’80s and ’90s past the small handful we actually got, they might look something like this. This is setting up one huge battle with Sam squarely in the center. He has to fight for his life and that of his daughter. If the series to date is any indication, he’s certainly ready.
Identity Stunt #3 is currently available at the official Identity Stunt Store.